Neither rain, nor storm...

Enduring some typically nasty Tuscaloosa spring weather, the Alabama football squad spent most of Wednesday's practice working in driving rain. Perhaps surprisingly, Tide Head Coach Mike Price chose to stay outside, rather than moving workouts into the Crisp Indoor Practice Facility. <br><br>"Today was our wet ball drill day," he joked afterwards. "I planned it this way. It's all planning--all organization."

"We got as good a job out of the practice as we could, and that's a credit to the players and coaches," he continued.

A veteran head coach with more than 20 years experience, Mike Price understands very well that football is game played in sometimes less-than-perfect weather conditions. "We wanted to stay out there," he explained. "The rain doesn't hurt (the players). You actually want to expose them to tough things."

By the time Wednesday's session was finished, Price, his coaching staff and all the players were thoroughly soaked. But that was okay with him. "All you can do is kid about it and go on," Price said. "You adjust the plans you can. It's really a good experience. It helps teach the receivers to stay balanced. It teaches everyone to stay low and keep their shoulders over their feet and not back on their heels.

"Despite the rain, we had a good practice. It was a credit to the players and coaches to work through the rain. We had a plan for practice in the rain and we just stuck with it. What you worry about is muscle pulls in the rain. But I think we were okay with that."

The Crimson Tide is scheduled to resume practice Friday afternoon. Day three will be the first day in full pads. That session will begin at 3:30 p.m.

Despite the incessant rain, most of the practice was focused and quite serious. But for the second day in a row Price concluded with a quick two-minute session that allowed the athletes to leave the field smiling. This time two offensive linemen and two defensive linemen faced off fielding punts. Both Justin Smiley and Wesley Britt caught their chances, while the defenders did not.

"Of course we finished practice up with our ‘nighttime, dark punt return specialists practice'," Price said, joking again. "So if it's ever dark during a game and the lights go out in the stadium, we'll have Justin Smiley return punts for us."

"That's fine, Coach," was Smiley's quick retort. "So long as they enforce the ‘Halo Rule.'"

Taking up where he left off Monday, Price again gave his quarterbacks plenty of exercise, throwing extensively in passing drills. "It was a good practice," Price said. "The kids played well in the rain. I was particularly pleased with the throwing of our quarterbacks with the wet ball. Toward the end of practice that leather ball gets real heavy.

"We had good effort. I like the attitude of this team and our players."

Following Monday's practice Price had noted that the Tide linemen needed work on their pass blocking. "They need to learn a lot in pass protection as far as techniques," he explained today. "Pass blocking just wasn't stressed here before. They play with their weight a little bit out front, which makes them a little bit top heavy. That's indicative of a running football team. That's okay; we'll get there."

Price has said that he wants to come out of spring practice having settled on both a punter and placekicker. "I'm not going to call any names, but a couple of kickers have done well," he noted. "I think we might be okay at placekicker. We still need a punter. Aaron (Coach Aaron Price) has a couple of placekickers he likes. He and Kasey Dunn are working with the kickers."

Price's offensive system features a lone running back, meaning that last year's starting fullback, Greg McLain, has moved to tight end. "I think Greg is going to be fine," Price said. "I like him a lot at tight end. Actually, as far as I'm concerned the jury is still out on him not being a running back. But our other coaches feel like he's more of a tight end prospect.

"I like him. He can run and he's a tough kid. He can block. He'll hit you. He's receptive to anything the coaches ask him to do. He's that kind of guy."

Saturday's practice will begin at 10 a.m. "We'll scrimmage a little bit, but there will be more drills as well," Price said. "Friday and Saturday will (involve) plenty of drills."

For the second practice in a row, linebacker signee Terrence Jones was an unofficial visitor to the workout. Former Interim Alabama Athletics Director, Dr. Glenn Tuckett, was also on hand Wednesday. He noted that he has known Mike Price for quite some time and really likes the fact that he's now the Tide's head coach.

ROSTER NOTE: Walk-on center Montre Walker, who drew praise last year for his athleticism, is not participating in spring practice. The Hayneville native stopped working out with the squad a few weeks back.

Spring practice for the Tide will conclude on March 29 with the annual A-Day game, which will kickoff at 1 p.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

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